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Nurses’ 12-hour shifts can lead to errors in patient care

Many nurses at hospitals, care facilities and other medical centers across the country often work long shifts, which can result in serious consequences for patients.

One report said that 75% of nurses in U.S. hospitals typically work shifts lasting 12 hours. Needless to say, these lengthy shifts—especially when they compound to be longer than 12 hours—can be exhausting for nurses. Another study found that nurses working 12-hour shifts and overtime are connected to difficulty remaining awake in the hospital and make it close to three times more likely the nurses make mistakes in patient care.

Common nursing mistakes can include:

  • Errors in medication, such as extra doses, missing doses and incorrect doses
  • Neglecting patients’ needs
  • Improper sanitation and cleanliness
  • Inaccurate patient documentation

The feeling of fatigue is common among nurses and can lead to shifts lasting 12 hours. The condition is caused in part by long shifts and stress. Burned-out nurses feel exhausted and are known to have poorer work performance.

According to a study, 98% of nurses in U.S. hospitals said their job is demanding on both their bodies and minds, and 85% of them said they feel fatigued overall due to their work. Another 63% said they had seen nurse burn out at their hospital, and 44% were concerned their drowsiness would lead to lower-quality care for their patients. Some 11% of the nurses actually confessed to making an error due to their tiredness.

The effects of nurse fatigue are just some of the numerous ways in which malpractice can happen. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm due to improper medical care, it’s important that you understand your options for legal recourse and have an experienced attorney to guide you through seeking your rightful compensation.